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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: "The Lefty Call"

Illustration for article titled Curb Your Enthusiasm: "The Lefty Call"
Illustration for article titled Curb Your Enthusiasm: "The Lefty Call"

Six seasons into Curb Your Enthusiasm, you can pretty much predict how each episode's bits (a.k.a. Larry David Comic Puzzle Pieces™) will fall into place to bite Larry in the ass. It all makes sense in a universe seemingly intent to piss on Larry David's head.

Speaking of piss, this week's episode opens with Larry using his office's bathroom, located in front of a desk occupied by Cha Cha–a still-comely Tia Carrere–Richard Lewis' chatty girlfriend. (Larry got her the job.) Not only does she hold Larry up with inane small talk, but she's making notes of his habits. That's the first Larry David Comic Puzzle Piece™ of the episode.

No. 2 arrives moments later, when Larry talks with Jeff about the crappy recycled toilet paper Cheryl forces them to use. Then No. 3, when Jeff and Larry have lunch with Cheryl, Susie, Bert (Larry's friend and Cha Cha's boss) and his wife, Barbara. They have nine kids. (Larry: "It's a little egotistical though, isn't it? To have so many you? You want to bring so much more of you into the world.") It works in tandem with two other bits: 1) Bert's father opening a "retro" barbershop, and 2) The restaurant's policy against doggy bags for pets.

Back at the office, Larry uses a bathroom on another floor, but the toilet flushes so loud it blows out his right ear. This leads to a doctor, who asks a routine question about Larry's bathroom habits, and Larry goes off. Eventually, the doctor just tells him to favor his left ear when possible, including "talking leftie" on the phone (a particularly Seinfeld-esque bit, and piece #4). Then arrives Larry David Comic Puzzle Piece™ #5, which is part of another Curb Your Enthusiasm phenomenon: the completely forced comic setup. For some reason, there's a skinhead in the doctor's waiting room who berates Larry as he leaves.

Now halfway through the episode, and the pieces begin to fall into place. No. 2: The Blacks want different toilet paper, so Larry offers to get it if he can use their bathroom in the house. When he tells Leon about the skinhead confrontation, Leon gives bewilderingly funny advice: "You gotta immediately get in somebody's ass when they do that to you! You pull that asshole open, step into they asshole, close the door behind you, take a spray-paint can, right? LARRY WAS HERE… Fuck his whole asshole up!" Later, Larry calls Richard's house to talk about the double date, but gets Cha Cha, who thinks he's coming on to her.

Denouement for #3 comes next: As Bert's dad cuts Larry's hair in his retro barbershop, he mentions that Barbara just had a miscarriage. In what may be the biggest of Larry David's Asshole Moments (the bedrock of Curb Your Enthusiasm), Larry retorts, "They do have nine kids." Bert's dad whips him with a towel. Larry and Jeff return to Jeff's house to discover the dog has been shitting from the leftover restaurant food. Jeff and Susie coerce Larry into confronting their waiter, but just lie and say he's the sick one. At the restaurant, the waiter isn't buying it: Over comes Cha Cha, who says Larry's only gone to the bathroom twice for two minutes each time (#1).

Back home, Larry uses the Blacks' bathroom, only to have Cheryl lecture him about ecology (#2, again). When Larry heads downstairs, Richard Lewis yells at him about his dirty phone call with Cha Cha and his asshole comment about Barbara's miscarriage, which led to Bert firing Cha Cha. Larry calls Barbara to apologize–Lewis insists he use the right ear (#4)–but Barbara just screams at him. Another doctor visit, this time with Leon.

While in the waiting room, Larry spots a bald man who resembles the skinhead (#5). Remembering Leon's advice, he confronts the guy, who turns out to be a chemo patient and not the right guy. Chemo dude leaves, then runs into a belligerent Leon in the hallway.

And thus, all of the Larry David Comic Puzzle Pieces™ fall into place, wrapping up another episode.

Grade: B-

Stray observations:

— Nice Taylor Negron cameo as the waiter. To quote him from Better Off Dead: "What's a little boy like you doing with big-boy smut like this?"

— Why does Larry have an office? And what does he do there?

— When Larry uses the loud toilet, he stands while he pisses. But he confessed in a previous season that he sits while urinating!